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BRB GroupThink: The Texans’ New WR1

Who is going going to step up in DeAndre Hopkins’s absence?

Divisional Round - Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Last season, DeAndre Hopkins had 104 catches on 150 targets. Those catches went for 1,165 yards and 7 touchdowns. In percentage terms, Nuk accounted for 31% of Deshaun Watson’s pass attempts, 30% of DW4’s completions, 30% of his passing yards, and 27% of his touchdown passes. Hopkins almost doubled the production of the Texans’ second most productive receiver, Will Fuller V, who only played in the majority of nine games last season.

Now Hopkins is gone. He’s off to pierce his tongue with the Saguaros and catch passes from Kyler Murray instead.

The Texans’ pass catchers on the roster are now Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, David Johnson, Duke Johnson, Keke Coutee, DeAndre Carter, Kenny Stills, Darren Fells, Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins, and Kahale Warring. Who do you think will have the most pass targets in 2020?

This is the very simple question I asked the masthead. These are their answers:


Will Fuller.

Bill O’Brien just can’t let go of his New England fantasies. Dink and dunk. Spread it around. Who needs a number one wide receiver? Except the difference here is the Texans don’t have Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, or Rob Gronkowski (again).

What the Texans have is a competent pass protecting offensive line, Deshaun Watson, and an assortment of players who could pick up a minimum of 30 catches in a career season.

The obvious answer to this question is Will Fuller, but he’s only going to play eight games or so next season, like he does every season; yet even then, in eight games, Fuller could pull down 70 targets, which could lead the Texans anyways.

What is obvious is no longer obvious. Yet despite Fuller’s injury history and the constant start and stops and my hamstring hurts, I’m going with him.

Fuller is more than a deep threat. He’s an all around sideline wide receiver. The burden is going to fall on him.


Rookie Receiver X.

The rookie receiver we draft will have the most targets for the Texans in 2020. I can’t imagine a world in which any of the guys listed above gets the most targets in this offense.

Among the incumbents, I’d probably have to go with Kenny Stills.


Randall Cobb.

Looking at this list, I thank Durga Alfred Blue isn’t still on this roster. Of those listed, I think it’s Randall Cobb, which is damn depressing.


Randall Cobb.

I think it will unfortunately be Cobb. Houston paid him big money. I think they want Watson to operate between the hashes over the middle of the field. He’s had good success with it and it’s how they tried (and failed) to use Nuk last year. After Cobb, it’ll be Stills>David Johnson>Fells?

Death by a thousand paper cuts, here we come!


Kenny Stills.

With the gaping hole at WR1, I’m going to nominate Kenny Stills as the team’s target hoarder. I would have gone with Fuller, but I can’t reasonably think he’ll play a full season. A rookie would be an enticing choice, but I’ll stick with Stills for now.



That’s assuming Cobb and any rookies can learn the system in time. It’s already clearly a complex system. Now throw in the uncertainty of when training camp will begin, or the season for that matter, and who knows what these new guys will learn and execute?

Man, that A-gap is about to get obliterated with conservative rushing all year, isn’t it?


Kenny Stills.

I’d say it has to be Kenny Stills, with Darren Fells coming in second. Stills is a solid receiver and he’s the closest thing Houston has to a middle ground between D-Hop and Fuller. But there’s always the variable of which of these guys brings around the most baby-mommas...


Kenny Stills.

I’m angry, you’re angry, we’re all angry. But I’ll put that aside a moment and give a cold answer to this question. I think it will be Kenny Stills. He and Deshaun Watson seemed to have great chemistry right from the jump, and he operates in the areas of the filed Watson seems to excel throwing to. I actually think he and Will Fuller V could be a pretty lethal combo, with another piece (draft or actually maximizing the team’s TE talent) and Fuller’s health somehow working out.

But nothing they do can right the wrong of the Hopkins trade, short of shocking the world with a second round wideout who turns out to immediately be one of the best in the league.

What are your thoughts? Which Texan do you think will lead the team in targets in 2020?


Which Texan will lead the team in targets in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Will Fuller
    (234 votes)
  • 41%
    Kenny Stills
    (426 votes)
  • 2%
    Darren Fells
    (23 votes)
  • 12%
    Rookie Receiver X
    (132 votes)
  • 12%
    Randall Cobb
    (127 votes)
  • 2%
    (22 votes)
  • 4%
    David Johnson
    (43 votes)
  • 1%
    Duke Johnson
    (11 votes)
1018 votes total Vote Now